cover image The Sea Is Salt and So Am I

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I

Cassandra Hartt. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-61924-2

White and 16, identical twins Tommy and Ellis, as well as Ellis’s best friend Harlow, all live in the fictional town of West Finch, Maine, which is collapsing into the ocean—a metaphor for the precariousness of the teens’ lives. After Tommy, who is depressed, attempts to drown himself in the same sea, Harlow’s efforts to help him, despite their tense past, result in a romance that poisons Harlow’s complex friendship with Ellis and reveals a history of toxic secrets. The first-person narration shifts indistinctly between Harlow, a violet-eyed teen with a drive to fix coastlines and people; Tommy, an artist who has lost his ability to draw (“Art happens in my head and my head is no longer a safe place to be”); and Ellis, a competitive runner who dates across the gender spectrum and, following a childhood accident, uses a prosthetic leg. Debut author Hartt portrays Tommy’s depression persuasively, but temporal and physical details are less carefully rendered. The book opens with a trigger warning and concludes with an author’s note that includes resources for LGBTQ youth and readers navigating mental illness. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (June)